Case: Hamilton Beach Brands, Inc. v. Sunbeam Prods., Inc., No. 2012-1581 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 14, 2013) (precedential). On appeal from E.D. Va. Before O’Malley, Bryson, and Reyna.
Procedural Posture: Plaintiff patent owner appeals from summary judgment that the asserted claims are invalid as anticipated and not infringed. CAFC affirmed that asserted claims are invalid under the on-sale bar.
- Prior Art Invalidity – On-Sale Bar: The district court correctly found that the plaintiff’s transaction with its foreign supplier was an invalidating offer for sale. In responding to plaintiff’s purchase order (an offer to buy), the supplier stated, prior to the critical date, that it was ready to fulfill the order (an offer for sale). It did not matter that the plaintiff patentee was purchasing the patented product for itself from its foreign supplier. There is no supplier exception to the on-sale bar.
- Prior Art Invalidity – On-Sale Bar: The product was ready for patenting at the time of the offer for sale. The descriptions and drawings of the product plaintiff showed its supplier were sufficiently enabling and were an admitted commercial embodiment of the patent-in-suit, thereby meeting every limitation of the asserted claims. “Fine-tuning” of an invention after the critical date does not mean that the invention was not ready for patenting.
DISSENT (Reyna): The majority did not consider whether the offer was commercial in nature or whether plaintiff placed the purchase order for purely experimental purposes. Under the majority’s holding, a single offer to buy for purely experimental purposes may trigger the on-sale bar, and the experimental-use exception will offer no salvation.